Limo Crash That Killed 20 May Have Been Caused by Bad Brakes

You may have seen the headlines about a fatal limo crash in New York state. The limo sped through a stop sign at the bottom of a hill before hitting a car and spinning into a ditch.

In the crash, the driver and 17 occupants died as well as two pedestrians.

The vehicle had been declared unsafe by the state and was not supposed to be on the road.

While the investigation is still ongoing, it appears possible that bad brakes were the cause of the crash. The limo was cited for several brake problems in its inspection last month.

According to a story by NBC,

The “brakes out of service” citation, issued after a March 21 inspection, indicated that 20 percent or more of the roughly 5-ton vehicle’s stopping power was compromised.

The records also indicate that brake lines were constricted or obstructed. This could apply to lines running to the rear brakes, which have to be extended when a constructor cuts a vehicle and then adds length to convert it into a limousine.

Frank Figueroa, president of Pinnacle Limousine Manufacturing of City of Industry, Calif. — which did not work on the Prestige limo in Saturday’s crash — said brake-line constriction would be rare because the lines, even extended ones, should be made of steel.

“There’s no way of compressing those,” he said.

Inside Edition also pursued the brake angle:

Inside Edition showed the doomed limo’s inspection report to Dave Lipsky, who repairs stretch limousines at his garage, Authority Fleet Service, in Long Island, New York.

After looking at the report, he says that a “majority of the brake systems on that vehicle were shot.”

Limo photo courtesy flickr cc.

Ben Nussbaum
Ben Nussbaum

Ben Nussbaum, Chief Content Officer of The Brake Report, has more than 20 years experience in publishing. He was the founding editor for USA Today's line of special interest magazines and the founding editor for i5 Publishing's newsstand one-off magazine program. He lives outside Washington, D.C. Email him at [email protected].